Thursday, January 1, 2015


A top ten of 2014

Before we advance into a new year of architectural encounters, it occurred to me to take a look at what my readers have found most interesting during the last year – or which of my 2014 posts, at any rate, have been viewed the most. I have compiled a top ten, and they are a mixed bunch indeed, featuring mostly modest buildings such as prefabs, a shop front, some almshouses, and a public lavatory. They also include some memorable architectural details and a couple of reviews (of the recent exhibition of Edwin Smith’s photographs and the reprint of Nairn’s London). Miscellaneous as they are, they seem to represent a reasonable if partial cross-section of my interests and, I hope, those of my readers to.

They are:

Far from ordinary: the story of prefabs in Catford, south London, notable examples of the glory of the ordinary.

A sort of Jacobethan: a whimsical but interesting bit of pseudo-Jacobean detail in Northampton. God, or the Devil as they say these days (and well they might in these unMiesian contexts), is in the details.

Hygienic high-style: a terrific Art Deco shopfront in Ashby de la Zouch, showing that Deco can be about restraint as well as showing off.

The essence of place: the stand-out exhibition of the photographs of Edwin Smith (closed now, but it’s still worth reading about this photographic master).

What we see, and when we see it: a meditation in Malmesbury about how photography often reveals what we don’t see.

Fifty years on: a personal memory of some almshouses in Louth and the architecture of James Fowler.

Old orders changing: an unusual classical order in Clifton (pictured above).

The ladies, vanishing: a memorable cinema in Cheltenham, which is no more.

Being moved in London: a review of my favourite book about London, which has recently been reprinted.

From the sun to the stars: a cast-iron public lavatory in Bath.

Happy New Year to you all.


Hels said...

I don't know the Cheltenham cinema. But if a lovely old building was bombed during the war, or destroyed by bush fires or tsunamis, by all means pull it down.

But if the owner is a greedy bugger who just wants to make fast money by destroying a lovely old building instead of renewing and re-purposing it, I think he should be hanged by his family jewels for life.

bazza said...

A very interesting a varied year (as usual!)
All the best for 2015 Philip.
Listening to: Richard Thompson's "1000 years of popular music" See:
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s fabulous Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Jenny Woolf said...

I've joined your site now.And I am glad to find another Nairn fan. I had my tatty old copy rebound into hardback, and looked up a few of the places just the other day. Many of the more interesting buildings are still there though don't you think that when buildings are tarted up they lose so much of their atmosphere and character? I'm glad the Old Kings Head in SE1 hasn't yet succumbed to the soul destroyihng modernisation that is affecting the area.